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Striking resident doctors give FG 72 hours to pay withheld salaries

•Says strike continues until minimum demands are met

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Saturday gave the Federal Government a 72-hour ultimatum to pay the salary arrears of its members on the GIFMIS platform, and that of its Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF).

It stated that for the strike which began on August 2, 2021, to end, the government needs to meet its minimum demands, which also include: payment of withheld August and September salaries, withdrawal of the case against it in court, payment of salary arrears and allowances owed its members in state tertiary health institutions, among others.

The President of the NARD, Dr. Dare Ishaya, made this known in a statement at the end of the Association’s 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference in Bauchi.

He said: “The AGM faulted the federal government for taking NARD to court due to the ongoing strike to demand for the improvement in the welfare of our members.”

They decried the undue hardship members on GIFMIS platform are facing due to the delay in payment of their salaries ranging from three to eight months.

The AGM also, “lamented the delay in payment of the Medical Residency training Fund despite the claim by the government that the money meant for it is available and the list of beneficiaries have been submitted.

“The AGM noted the explanatory circular from Salaries, Income and Wages Commission stating that House officers’ salary scale and wages will not be affected by their removal from the scheme of service, however they reiterated their earlier position that the circular should be withdrawn.

“They also observed that some House Officers are still owed 1-2 months salaries and refunds of their illegally deducted accommodation fees. The AGM noted that bench fee for outside postings by Resident Doctors has been abolished, however some chief medical directors are yet to fully implement it.

“The AGM bemoaned the delay in payment of death in service insurance benefit to the next of kin of our fallen heroes despite their sacrifices to the country.

“They observed with concerns the conditions of our members under different state governments’ employs, especially Abia, Imo, Ekiti and Ondo state governments who currently owe our members twenty (20) months, six (6) months, four (4) months and four (4) months’ salary arrears respectively.”

Enumerating its minimum demands, he added: “after critical appraisal of the performances of both federal and state governments on all the issues that led to the ongoing strike as stated above, the AGM unanimously resolved by vote to continue the total and indefinite strike action until our minimum demands are met.

“The AGM in particular demanded that the federal government should ensure the following urgently for the purpose of restoring normalcy to the health sector: Payment of the Medical Residency Training within 72 hours, since the money meant for it is available and verification of the list for payment has been completed; Payment of the arrears of salaries of our members on GIFMIS platform within 72 hours while the migration process continues; Withdrawal of the case against us in court in the interest of peace; Payment of our withheld August and September salaries.

“The federal government should prevail on various state governments to urgently pay arrears of salaries and allowances owed our members in the state tertiary health institutions as stated above.

“The AGM also urged the federal government to consider universal implementation of the MRTA in all training institutions in the country including those in the states. The AGM reiterated unequivocally especially to the members of the public that we are committed to the smooth running of the health sector, however we can only do so when our welfare is given the desired attention.

“We therefore call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to set aside all technicalities as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari and resolve the aforementioned demands in the interest of the masses and our members who are currently suffering because of the ongoing strike action.”

The Nation

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